A survey conducted by the Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) Ghana has shown the country has one of the highest child marriage occurrence rates in the world.
The survey showed that one out of four girls would be married before their 18th birthday.
Additionally, the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey in 2008 indicated that about 25 per cent of women aged between 20 and 24 years were married or were in union before age 18.
The Upper East Region has the highest rate of forced marriages in the country which is at 50 per cent followed by the Upper West Region with 39 per cent while the Greater Accra Region has the least which is 11 per cent.
Again, the percentages of girls married before the age of 18 showed the Upper East Region leading with 39.2 per cent; Upper West Region 36.3 and Greater Accra had 11 per cent.
These statistics were presented at a press conference organised by WiLDAF with support from CARE?International Ghana as part of activities marking International Women’s Day which fell on March 8.
The press conference highlighted the issue of early and forced marriages in Ghana and made a call for action to end the practice.
Speaking on behalf of WiLDAF, Ms. Magdalene Kannae, said the practice of early and forced marriages was not foreign but something that was common in the country.
She, therefore, called on government, Parliament and civil society organisations to take a step to stop early and forced marriages in the country.
She said such actions must include protection and care for victims; provision of shelter, education and skills and court orders to protect the girls.